Yesterday, I posted a short list of knitting blogs I like and follow regularly and while I was compiling the list, I started thinking about what keeps me reading a blog. I realized there are a few basic things that make a blog appealing to me and so I try to incorporate those things into my own blog posts. So, below is my humble attempt at some tips to attract and keep people reading your blog.
Have a sense of humor – I’m not kidding. Laughter is good medicine. Witty sarcasm is okay, self-deprecation is very acceptable (as long as you’re not shooting for martyrdom), but crudeness is usually not that attractive and makes people uncomfortable unless you're a teen-aged boy. I'm not sure many teen-aged boys read knitting blogs. I could be wrong, but I don't think so.
Be informative – Some blogs offer more technical information than others, but every knitting blog should offer some constructive knowledge on a semi-regular basis. But be warned, if you’re going to wax eloquent about a technique, make sure you know what you’re talking about. If you’re offering merely your opinion on something, then say so. And keep in mind that no one likes a know-it-all. I know a lady who [thinks she] knows it all. I don’t like her. She’s not a knitter. I’m glad.
Post more than once in a blue moon – A blue moon is a rare occurrence but your blog posts shouldn’t be. There’s nothing worse for me than reading a good blog and looking forward to the next post and then…nothing. It makes me blue. Like the moon. But more often.
Proofread! Proofread! PROOFREAD! – Their is nuthing mor distrakting thn a porely writtun poast. Look, a typo will inevitably slip past you once in a while, but if your every post looks like it was written by a second-grader, say goodbye to potential readers. If grammar and spelling isn’t your thing but you really want to blog, hire someone to proofread your posts for you. They’re out there. I’m available. And I’m affordable. I’ll work for money, chocolate, coffee, or yarn, but not necessarily in that order.
|Gratuitous cute pet photo|
The Husband took this one
Use photos – As engaging as some bloggers are sans pics, good photos just ice the cake. I’m still working on this one. When it comes to taking a simple picture of something I’ve made (or anything else for that matter), I totally stink. I’m hoping 2013 brings an improvement for me in this area. I may take a class. Of course, if you also stink at taking pictures, you can ask someone you know who is a good photographer to take them for you. The Husband takes good pictures, but I'm not often able to transmit my vision for a particular photo into his brain and I'm Type A enough to be thoroughly unsatisfied with anything other than what I've envisioned in my little noggin. Hopefully, I’ll get better at making my photographic visions a reality. Oh, and I almost forgot. If you have a cute pet, stick in a gratuitous photo of them from time to time. It can’t hurt.
Provide the missing link – The URL, that is. There’s a web site for practically everything these days and you should provide a link to further information for your readers, especially for patterns, yarns, and designers you mention. And if you’re quoting someone else, give credit where it is due.
Ask for feedback/comments – I forget this sometimes and when I do remember, I don’t always get any responses, but at least I’ve left the door open. If you like a blog post or have something to contribute to the conversation, then comment! I can only speak for myself here, but I LOVE it when people comment! This brings me to…
Make it easy for folks to comment – I’ve had trouble in this area because my blog platform forces people to choose how they want to respond (via Gmail account, anonymously, URL, blah, blah, blah) and it doesn't always work correctly. They can’t just type and hit submit, which annoys the crap out of me. I hope to eventually move to a platform where this isn’t an issue. Until then, I’ve tried to give as much direction on the blog as possible as to how to comment. But as annoying as my comment procedure is, I’ve actually tried to post on sites where not only did I have to provide everything but a blood type, but then I had to use one of those horrid “type the letters you see in the image” thingies. You know the ones, where they take a nonsensical word and twist it into an unrecognizable image or two and force you to guess. This never works for me the first time (is that an "m" or an "r" next to an "n"??) and quite frankly, by the time I’ve tried twice, I’ve gone off the idea of posting anything on that blog. I understand not wanting those evil, mindless “bots” to post stuff on your blog, but unless you’ve already had a problem with this, I beg of you, don’t make me type what I see in the image! Puh-leeeeze??!! And one more word about comments…
Respond! – I don’t know about you, but when a blogger asks for comments but then never responds to any that have been made on their blog, it makes me wonder if they even read them. Unless you’re receiving hundreds of comments a day (I could only hope), which of course would make it impossible to answer them all, you should respond with something to the comments people leave. You don’t have to write a book, but responding shows people that you are actually interested in their comments. And then speaking of writing a book…
Don’t write a book – Blog posts that are too long (like this one) will not be read. An occasional novella is one thing, but if each entry takes forever to read, you’re posting too much at once. Try splitting it into two different posts. Then you can post twice as often. See how cool that is? :o)
Really, this can all be summed up with the idea “Blog unto others as you would like them to blog unto you.” Think about what you like to see on a blog and then wash, rinse, repeat. Think about what you don’t like on a blog. If it annoys you, it will probably annoy someone else.
That’s my two cents worth. Or maybe a penny. But a shiny one.
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Any other tips out there?